# [pdftex] pdftex Digest, Vol 68, Issue 7

Will Robertson wspr81 at gmail.com
Wed Sep 10 03:31:36 CEST 2008

On 10/09/2008, at 4:48 AM, ivo welch wrote:

> now all we need is more decisions about what constitutes bad latex
> usage---much stricter than just obsolete packages.  Plus, I want to
> advocate some more drastic changes,
> though---(http://welch.econ.brown.edu/rfp.html).

Some of the ideas in there are very nice (I've thought before about
defining a mode so that more plain ascii characters are allowable) but
your idea *on the whole* is generally impossible in LaTeX. For
instance, even if you define your own namespacing at the macro level,
it could only ever work for macros that are defined *after*
sanesyntax.sty. Similarly for the "clear number of parameters" idea.

I disagree with your choice for comment character, by the way. What
happens if I want to write "idea #2" ? Then it's just as bad as
writing "\\$28", now. And I don't understand your objection to using #
for parameters.

I'd suggest just using a verbatim environment to write comments and
have *no* comment char:

\comment| this text is never seen in a line |

\begin{comment}
this is text that is never seen
in a block
\end{comment}

To be honest I think the best way to achieve your aim is to define a
wrapper language that is transformed into LaTeX at compile time (like
Markdown does for HTML, say). Although you might like to look at
Gellmu before starting out on your own. Write the thing in Perl and
impose your restrictions one level up; then there's no chance of
dealing with nasty LaTeX idiosyncrasies.

Best regards,
Will